No regulatory interventions required for OTT services: TRAI

The regulatory body said developments shall be monitored and intervention, as felt necessary, shall be done at appropriate time

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 9:12 AM

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released recommendations on ‘regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services’ after a multi-stage consultation process. 

In it's recommendation, TRAI said, “Market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention. However, developments shall be monitored and intervention as felt necessary shall be done at appropriate time.”
It further added, that no regulatory interventions are required in respect of issues related with privacy and security of OTT services at the moment. 

The regulator also said that it is not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently. “It may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions particularly the study undertaken by ITU,” the official statement read.  

Earlier, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) vide a letter sought the recommendations of TRAI on net neutrality, including traffic management and economic, security and privacy aspects of OTT services. Considering the complexity of issues, referred to in the DoT's letter, and other interrelated issues, the authority decided to deal with specific issues through distinct consultation processes. 

The authority has already issued recommendations or regulations pertaining to 'Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services', 'Regulatory framework for Internet Telephony', Net Neutrality' and `Privacy, Security and Ownership of Data in the Telecom Sector'. 

In arriving at these recommendations on the residual issue i.e. 'Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) communication services', TRAI issued a Consultation Paper on 12th November 2018 and raised various issues like Similarity and Substitutability of TSP and OTT services, Regulatory Imbalance and Non-Level playing field between TSPs and OTT service providers, Economic aspects, Interoperability, Lawful Interception of OTT services and Access of emergency services from OTT etc. for comments and counter comments from stakeholders. 

Subsequently, two open house discussions (OHD's) were held one at Bangalore on 24th April 2019 and another one at Delhi 20th May 2019, where stakeholders participated and deliberated on the issues. 

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